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UN Assembly paves the way: global convention on plastic waste looms

UN Assembly paves the way: global convention on plastic waste looms

Status: 02/03/2022 3:43 PM

The international community wants to take action against plastic waste. At the United Nations Environment Conference, representatives from around the world agreed on a common strategy for the first time. A similar agreement is now being negotiated.

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) has launched concrete negotiations for a legally binding global plastics agreement. In Nairobi, delegates voted unanimously to form the so-called Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to negotiate the international agreement. The agreement should become legally binding by the end of 2024 at the latest.

History Books Day

The president of the Environmental Society, Norway’s Environment Minister Espen Barth Eide, spoke of a day that would be included in the “history books”. Now the process of negotiating a ban on plastic pollution has begun. Eddy emphasized that there is a clear relationship between the climate and the environmental crisis.

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke spoke of a “historic result”. The green politician in Nairobi said the outcome was similar to the Paris climate agreement. Lemke said this is the first time the international community has agreed to take action against plastic waste.

Negotiators can set maximum limits

The full life cycle of plastics should be examined in the agreement negotiations. This includes production, use, disposal, or reuse. Negotiators could set quantitative caps and a voluntary, binding measure on plastic waste on land and at sea.

Control and assistance measures for poorer countries are also part of the negotiating mandate. Negotiations are scheduled to begin at the United Nations Environment Assembly in the second half of the year. It is open to all UN member states.

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About 460 million tons of plastic were produced in 2019. Of this, 353 million tons ended up in landfill. Currently only 10 percent of the plastic produced worldwide is recycled, and 22 percent ends up in uncontrolled landfills or disposed of into the environment without protection, as reported by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).